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Sustaining greenery amid a concrete jungle - City's biggest challenge

Sustaining greenery amid a concrete jungle - City's biggest challenge

Naveen Menezes Gurpur
Daijiworld Media Network - Mangalore (NM)

Mangalore, Jun 5: The widespread competition to earn extra money at the cost of environment is a reality today. Development is measured in terms of high-end buildings, concrete structures and roads, and industries – the sources of immediate economy. Priority to environment is sidelined as it does not contribute to the national income or fill state treasuries. June 5 being World Environment Day, it is time for a reality check.

It is a hard fact, but development projects are to be implemented with utmost care to the environment, as this leads to a healthy living in the long run. Today, buildings have replaced trees, the greenery. Like any other metropolitan city, Mangalore too has adopted a policy of development without giving a second thought to the environmental destruction.

(Pic: Dayanand Kukkaje)

“All that I can see today is buildings and less greenery. Lots of people come to the port city to settle down for education and various other reasons. Construction is boosted to meet the growing demand. As a result, even the little space in the city is being bargained for crores of rupees. Hence, the realtors think of constructing additional buildings rather than planting a tree,” feels Fr Leo D’Souza, director, Lab of Applied Biology, St Aloysius College, who has closely seen the growth of Mangalore over the years.

Roshani Upasna, an IT student adds, “Development and urbanization at the cost of Mother Earth is the saddest part of the entire process. It is as good as making a place look beautiful with all modern, heart throbbing, lustful luxury, and then finally making it a burial spot with environment degradation. Erratic rainfall, imbalance in temperature and climate change are the greatest threat to sustainable growth." 

Economy and Environment

Vidya Dinkar, co-ordinator, Citizen Forum for Mangalore Development, says, “Every kind of development needs to be sustainable. Unfortunately, Mangalore is considered as the ‘dumping ground of Karnataka’. Our city is used to set up hazardous industries, power plants, and petro-chemical industries. Instead, we need ITs, offshore banking, and medical tourism which ensures economic prosperity, growth, and job opportunities using less space without destroying the environment. However, there is no proper vision for Mangalore; the planners have instead welcomed dirty industries to the region.”

“In the city, realtors contribute some more to the destruction of the environment. For every tree that is being cut, a strict policy to plant at least two trees should be made mandatory as compensation. And, its effective implementation is possible only when the rule comes from the legislature,” opines Prof K R Chandrashekar of Mangalore University.

Mangalore South constituency MLA J R Lobo says, “It is possible to maintain a balance between the economy and the environment. More attention must be paid to the education sector by setting up national level institutions. Information Technology (IT), banking and tourism sector in Mangalore have high potential for growth without damaging the environment. Besides, there are plans to introduce manufacturing industries in such a way that it has least effect on the environment. Adopting natural gas instead of coal in the industries can cause less or no environment pollution at all. Natural gas could be used for various purposes. New Delhi uses it for public transport and over the years the pollution level has come down in the capital,” he said and stressed that it needs careful management.

When asked about the construction of buildings in the city at the cost of the environment, Lobo said, “I will hold a discussion with the city planning committee and Mangalore Urban Development Authority (MUDA). We will make it obligatory to plant compensatory trees for every tree that is being cut”.

Dr Shivakumar Magada, professor, Fisheries College, says, “We have enough time to sketch visions for Mangalore, considering the loopholes of other developed states or metro cities. For every small rain, there is flooding in Bangalore. In addition, improper drainage system, failure to dispatch garbage, and water crisis, are some of the common problems of every fast growing city - due to heavy human population. The planners of Mangalore should be prepared to tackle those problems.”

Another Green Revolution

“Everybody knows that there is huge damage to the environment, but nobody is actually bothered.  Deforestation, desertification, cutting down huge trees takes place even today. But the massive revolution to stop such unhealthy practice is non-existent. In history, we have studied about Appiko movement and then about an illiterate ‘Saalumarada’ Thimmakka, who actually worshiped trees and never allowed them to be cut. Such wholehearted adoration is missing among the people,” feels Dr Raviraj Shetty, environmentalist of the year award winner.

Dinkar adds, “Though there are no huge movements taking place, we have protested against any development programmes implemented at the cost of the environment. For the purpose of broadening roads - when many trees were to be felled at Mannagudda and Valencia - the local community responded to protect the avenue trees. I see hope. When such environmental destruction takes place in the neighborhood, their hearts bleed.”

“We could save at least 47 avenue trees at Valencia from being felled by adopting ‘Vriksha Bandhan’ method, despite the strong opposition from the district administrators and bureaucrats. But when such issues take place far from their vicinity, people no longer care. This is unfortunate,” she said.

Besides, Dinkar feels, “With globalization, people appreciate concrete structures than a natural environment. A musical fountain next to their door gives more pleasure and comfort to the human being than a tree.”

Plant a Birthday Tree

“Planting trees, talks creating awareness on environment consciousness are the usual phenomena that take place in the cities and villages. But, that in itself does not serve the purpose. Watering those plants is as important as planting them. However, the idea to plant-a-birthday-tree can be more effective. Here at least, the individual feels like watering the tree regularly; after all it is something related to one’s birthday – and its special,” opines Dr Shetty, underlining the individual efforts towards building a green city.  

He adds, “The belief of our ancestors has been one of the reasons that boosted preservation of nature. Today, sacred trees like ‘naaga bana’ have remained untouched only because of such beliefs. That kind of reverence should be our way of life, and only such respect enables environment protection.”

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Comment on this article

  • Suchitra Shetty, Mangalore

    Fri, Apr 10 2015

    People should understand the necessity of greenery in the development of cities. It is rightly said that plant a tree take the oxygen free

    DisAgree Agree Reply Report Abuse

  • Vishal, Mangalore

    Sun, Jun 9 2013

    It is truly painful to see so many roads and places in and around Mangalore without trees. The majestic banian and other huge trees that were once the pride of our place are nowhere to be seen today. We don't seem to realise that we are doing so much disservice to our future generations by cutting down trees. The consequences of such recklessness, arrogance and greed are very much evident even today. Rainfall has declined and the temperature is on the rise. It is high time we took notice of this and the earlier we take remedial measures the better it will be for all of us and our children. Please, please make it a point to plant as many trees as possible, encourage our children also to do the same and impress upon them the importance of having greenery all around us. Do not wait for our neighbours or our friends to start doing this. Let it start from us. As Gandhiji said "Be the change you want to see in the world." If each one of us thinks in this manner and plants at least one or two trees, I am sure this world would be a much better place to live.
    Another thing I would like to add is that do not expect the government or the authorities to do everything. As citizens, let us also do our bit. Let us recollect John Kennedy's famous lines "Ask not what the country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country." The least we can do is to increase the green cover and whenever we see a tree on the roadside languishing for want of care and help, please do our bit by attending to that.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [6] Reply Report Abuse

  • pasha, karnataka

    Wed, Jun 5 2013

    Planting a tree is of no use unless, it is a hardwood tree & there should be a variety. People are planting Ashoka trees which does not add any value. The city corporation should ensure that each building has a green area in the compound, at least 1 hardwood tree and a small lawn say 4% of the total compound. Today most builders are making car parks and selling them. Old buildings also are determined to cut down the few trees to convert them to car parks. This should be stopped at all costs, no excuse & no regularising the infringement. Demolish it at all costs. The ball is in the court of the city corporation. Will they act on this immediately?

    DisAgree [3] Agree [1] Reply Report Abuse

  • Peter Lewis, Kalmady/k s a

    Wed, Jun 5 2013

    Today's Development is Construct Buildings everywhere, Dirty, Filthy water drainages connect to Rivers and Drink same water, Dig Borewells, Manufacture plastic Items as much as possible. God only knows where we are Heading.

    DisAgree Agree [5] Reply Report Abuse

  • SM, Mangalore

    Wed, Jun 5 2013

    In India , people have a misconception about Development.When MRPL and ONGC came up in Mangalore they made a study that there was sufficient greenery and hence the City will not be affected.But after MRPL came up Builders have built more buildings and cut off greenery. MCC knows that they can make the maximum money by giving licences. MCC has not planted a single sapling in the City . One of the Ministers for enviornment from the BJP Govt himself has developed Land Links scrapping the Green Hill which is seen from the Blue Berry Hills .Many Green zones have turned into non agricultural areas by removing the green zone tag.In Bangalore we can see BBMP is planting trees below other trees.I should say BBMP stands for Big Brains & Master Planners.Planting trees under trees is the most foolish thing BBMP Officials can do.End of the day it is clearly seen that they have no Vision. Coffee Planters and other planters are cutting trees and extending their plantations illegaly.Government is not doing any check on the same. When we travel from Mangalore to Bangalore Western Ghats (Shiradi Ghats) have not been taken care.People have started commercial activities inside forest areas which is seen on either side of the roads. Plastic and Garbage is dumped in the green forest and not sure why the forest department has allowed these activities inside green zone forest area. The shop keepers even burn Garbage inside the forest and throw alot of plastic which is seen on our Journey from Mangalore to Bangalore.Some Lorry drivers wash their cars and Veichles in the water streams which wild animals will use for drinking purpose .Also , we should know that this water from the forest will finally flow into Cauvery and Nethravathi rivers which is then used for Human Consumption. Looking at all this it is very clear the officials are not doing their job to preserve forest for future existence which is very sad.

    DisAgree Agree [2] Reply Report Abuse

  • John Tauro, M'lore / Kwt

    Wed, Jun 5 2013

    At least save coconut palms for which the city is well known. Unlike other big trees coconut palms do not occupy space by spreading branches. Also they are environmental friendly and economically beneficial.

    DisAgree [2] Agree [6] Reply Report Abuse

  • Bollu, Mangalore

    Wed, Jun 5 2013

    Coconut tree can be saved..
    but not 'coconut'..it's right of 'mangas'..
    onjeela tarai budupejtha..

    DisAgree [2] Agree [7] Reply Report Abuse

  • Enzil Dsilva , Mangalore

    Wed, Jun 5 2013

    Good one Naveen ...

    DisAgree [1] Agree [3] Reply Report Abuse

  • H. William , Padukone /Udupi/Dubai

    Wed, Jun 5 2013

    We shifted our Industry to Dubai Industrial City from Sharjah about 18 months back. Here it is mandatory to plant Trees/ Greenery around the fence. Many companies take this as burden and they are facing problems in getting completion certificates. Still in our site we have taken it as priority and put efforts to keep our surroundings green. At present we harvest plenty of Dates with sugarcane, fresh mint, green chills, Tomato, corn, Aloe Vera many more things are grown. Two days back all of us enjoyed fresh water melon from our garden.
    Most of our work forces from Asia with agriculture background all love to grow some thing and they get seeds/saplings form home town. We take care of our garden and trees now we find plenty sparrows nesting in the trees. Every time I go for round in compound, listen to chipping sparrow it reminds me visiting country side back home.
    With small Initiative we could grow so many things in this harsh climate, we have fertile land and best climate only lacking is will power.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [11] Reply Report Abuse

  • Eric Coelho, Mangalore

    Wed, Jun 5 2013

    The infrastructure of mangalore in all respects is gone to the dogs. No proper roads backed with lack of parking, footpath, zebra crossing, signals and traffic sense. The growth of mangalore has already reached a stagnation point and it is really suffocating. I thank almighty god and my ancestors to have been blessed with wonderful property at lalbagh that has 40 coconuts trees, 50 ashoka trees, 4 varieties of mangoes, 2 varieties of jackfruit, pinapple, plantain, pamelo, bimbli, pepper plant, crotons and overall 4 rich sweet water open wells. It is like a resort in a city. They say "Take care of nature and nature will good care of you". There are difficulties in having all these trees as we don't get coconut and mangoes pluckers today. There is a labour shortage. We cannot depend on our politicians for development of our area taking the example of Bejai Market which is yet to be constructed even after 5 years. If we have to see our area beautiful in all respects then the people should join hands and ensure that we get and receive the best. People staying in and around lalbagh have 5 markets, temples, churches, several markets within a distance of 1 km, thereby we having the basic needs in our life within walking distance but still instead of walking, people go by cars. If we don't bring change in ourselves then we cannot bring in change outside. Before we preach for others let us follow what we preach. We want everything fast - like someone told me "Eric I want the work to be finished in 5 minutes,so my reply to that person was - I was not born within 5 minutes after my parents honeymoon". We lack patience and we have become egoistic, arrogant, selfish, greedy and dishonest. We are indians and still live in western Ideas, Western Cars, bikes, mobiles, laptop, desktop and also western food. We have nothing of our ownself. We sell underwears and socks in AC shopping mall but look at our markets - they are like Garbage pits.

    DisAgree [2] Agree [19] Reply Report Abuse

  • Tony Crasta , Mangalore

    Wed, Jun 5 2013

    The horse has already bolted - it's too late now to do anything about it. Nice write up by the way.

    DisAgree [2] Agree [7] Reply Report Abuse

  • Eulalia D'Souza, Bijai / Mangalore

    Wed, Jun 5 2013

    Mangalore which was known for it's greenery and scenic beauty is now looking more like a concrete jungle. MUDA and all other Authorities who are authorized to issue licenses and permissions should make it mandatory that builders have to have trees / plants around every building being built. they need not be huge trees, but greenery in every compound should be made mandatory. Also roads are widened and trees are cut down. In between our new roads, we observe place with provisions for plants to be planted. These can be small bushy plants, but ensure you have them & maintain them. This also helps people at nights for driving which blocks on coming vehicles' bright head lights.!! Serves as multiple purpose.
    Apartments being built should have trees around the compound, this will give some respite to people.
    Our Government should be more vigilant towards what industries come to our city. It is important to stop hazardous industries coming to Mangalore city and around. This will help us maintain greener city.
    Now that we have new ministers and MLAs from Mangalore, they should take keen interest in developing Mangalore city as green city. This will help us attract Tourism activities and other avenues to develop Mangalore as a Greener city..

    DisAgree [1] Agree [5] Reply Report Abuse

  • Sanjeeve Kunal, Bangalore

    Wed, Jun 5 2013

    Mangalore and Bangalore have become Republics of Builders. These builders don't give any thought to the evironments hazards and helath issues but just focus on maximizing profits. The concern for the future generation is simply not there at all. Let these people understand the fact that " We don't inherit this earth planet but we borrow it from our childrens"

    DisAgree [1] Agree [7] Reply Report Abuse

  • Antony D'Cunha, Permude/Muscat

    Wed, Jun 5 2013

    Nice writeup. This applies to all parts of Mangalore and its suburbs. The forestland where we used to take the cattle for grazing during our childhood is slowly vanishing and so are the other evironmental friendly scenic beauty parameters.

    DisAgree Agree [6] Reply Report Abuse

  • Bob, Mangalore

    Wed, Jun 5 2013

    Yes! We need to save Mangalore. 4 issues the author could have mentioned though:

    1. This site, and every other news portal, is scared to take on builders as builders provide them with nearly all their revenue. Let's have some proper investigative journalism into how they manipulate the local government for their benefit and the environment's loss.

    2. All our news MLAs are tight with the builders. Lobo etc. have already been seen at CREDAI meetings, building launches etc.

    3. We destroy greenery to build flats and keep them empty. Some luxury ones are 70% empty. It's a massive scandal. We all suffer so black money can be invested somewhere safe.

    4. The proposed Mangalore Corniche - it will kill Mangalore's environment.

    DisAgree Agree [15] Reply Report Abuse

  • Vincent Rodrigues, Katapadi/Bangalore

    Wed, Jun 5 2013

    There should not be any compromise with regard to sustaining and maintaining greenary while developing the city of Mngalore.Strict laws need to be imposed for the developers and undertaking with penalty clause need to be obtained from the developers before granting permission in this regard.Hope,for the best.Thanq.

    DisAgree Agree [7] Reply Report Abuse

  • Dr.Anand & Geeta Pereira, Mangalore/Sakleshpur

    Wed, Jun 5 2013

    This article is an eye-opener for all sections of society. Let us not perish in the guise of 'Development ". One way of going about this problem is having a blue print made incorporating GREEN ACCOUNTING STANDARDS.

    DisAgree Agree [9] Reply Report Abuse

  • Sampath, Mlore/ Blore

    Wed, Jun 5 2013

    I used to stay in Mangalore ( near Ashoknagar Church . THere was ahill and from there there was another one in opposite direction ( Hat Hill). 12 years ago there were a few houses visible there rest all greenary. Now its covered with houses and greenary is hardly visible...

    Man has misunderstood the concept of development.... by just building houses etc and destroying the green earth is not development.
    Equal growth in all fields is the only one... or else there will be environmental imbalance.... (we can see the results now only)

    Hope men will awake in time.... and if we still continue our greed then we will have to pay a heavy price....

    DisAgree Agree [15] Reply Report Abuse

  • Sachidanand Shetty, Mundkur/Dubai

    Wed, Jun 5 2013

    I still remember one of the incident happened in our Company where I worked previously. We were building one private villa for one of the Son of Late Shaikh Zayed. Apparently our worker bound to cut some palm trees to make an approach road to this villa. But, Late Shaikh Zayed saw these men when he was travelling to Abu Dhabi Airport and immediately he stopped to see what they were doing. When he realize what they were doing, immediately ordered his Security Personnel to arrest these workers though our Site Personnel pleading with his Security Personnel that this approach road being constructed to his Son’s Villa. We waited till next Eid to release these workers from jail and our Company has been warned not to cut the trees again rather do the re-plantation if required. So, when we love nature we never destroy the natural beauty nor we allow someone to destroy the same

    DisAgree [4] Agree [23] Reply Report Abuse

  • Bollu, Mangalore

    Wed, Jun 5 2013

    'Palm Trees' considered to be a National Tree as like 'Peacock' in our country...!! Once arabs depended only on 'kajoors' as it's there national fruit..!! Even 'camel' also considered to be there national animal..!!

    DisAgree [1] Agree [15] Reply Report Abuse

  • R.Bhandarkar, M'Lore

    Wed, Jun 5 2013

    Think: People Never Do!
    Eat: The 'Haves' never, The 'Have Not's' have no choice...
    Save: What? In the present scenario.......
    So much for the WED slogan- Think Eat and Save!

    DisAgree [4] Agree [6] Reply Report Abuse

  • vivian, dubai

    Wed, Jun 5 2013

    In the name of development people became selfish by destroying Nature.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [18] Reply Report Abuse

  • Das, Kudla

    Wed, Jun 5 2013

    On footpaths, City Corporation should take initiative of planting. Implement the way Gujrat govt did. They didnt cut the trees, instead they used the method of shifitng it to other place. Here our builders are completely destroying and bringing more number of apartments, commercial complex. Everywhere in mang we could see apartments. Do plant more trees and make Mangalore Green city.

    DisAgree Agree [19] Reply Report Abuse

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